Breaking: Union Trust Files For Bankruptcy

Lots of eye-rolling went on back in 2008 and 2009 when Philadelphia saw a trifecta of grand steakhouses opening in a city (and nation) on the verge of economic disaster: Stephen Starr’s Butcher & Singer, Dallas-based chain Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, and the $12 million locally-owned Union Trust on Washington Square West. Well, Starr slid right through the mess, as he tends to do. And though Del Frisco’s has had its share of problems (unpaid bills and the hilarious dumpster wars, for instance) and rumors of its demise pop up now and again, it seems to have weathered the storm. But Union Trust has not been so lucky.

Yesterday, members of Union Trust Philadelphia, LLC met at 11 a.m. at the company’s 717 Chestnut Street headquarters to draft a Chapter 11 resolution. Citing pending litigation and an inability to pay its debts, in part thanks to claimed assets of less than $50,000, the company is seeking bankruptcy protection. The paperwork was filed in federal court late yesterday afternoon.

Although the restaurant is currently accepting reservations, opening chef/partner Terry White – who is no longer cooking there – said this morning that he does not expect Union Trust to remain in business for long. “It’s a mess,” he adds. “Now the civil suits will start rolling in…” Another source close to Union Trust agrees that the end is near.

“It was an extremely exciting project,” says public relations executive Peter Breslow, who worked with the company for nearly two years. “To watch it not reach its potential is disappointing to say the least.”

CORRECTION: The bankruptcy paperwork was filed on Thursday.